Thanksgiving Travel Deals

by Jessica

October 3rd, 2011

turkeyWhen most of us think about the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s images of family dinners, great feasts, football games, and general happiness that probably come to mind first. For anyone who’s not within driving distance of all that stuff, however, the famously horrendous crowds at the airport follow closely behind.

Thanksgiving remains one of the worst times to travel in the U.S., and the increased volume of passengers – while annoying in and of itself – can lead to more delays, more cancellations, and (perhaps worst of all) more expensive tickets. Some of the problems that are associated with Thanksgiving travel can’t be avoided so much as prepared for, but when it comes to paying too much for an airline ticket – that’s where we draw the line.

Chances are you’ll pay more to travel at Thanksgiving than you would if you traveled the week before, but there are definitely some things you can do to make sure you’re not paying top dollar for your flight. That’s just one of the topics covered in the helpful articles below.

>> In 2012, Thanksgiving is on Thursday, November 222nd

How to Find Cheap Thanksgiving Airfare

For many people, the biggest dilemma about traveling at Thanksgiving is that ticket prices spike on the most popular travel days. It makes sense, since the airlines know so many people don’t have a choice about when they fly, but if you can somehow avoid paying through the nose for a plane ticket at Thanksgiving your meal will taste decidedly less bittersweet.

Among the best ways to get Thanksgiving travel deals are to avoid the peak travel days and book your trip as early as you can (even booking in September is a good idea), but there are other tips included in this article that may help you find a better price on a ticket, too.

>> Read more about how to find cheap Thanksgiving airline tickets

Best and Worst Days to Travel at Thanksgiving

We’ve all heard about how there’s that one day around Thanksgiving that is the busiest US travel day, but which day is it, exactly? Is it before the holiday, or after? Or are there awful travel days on both sides?

There are, as you might suspect, bad (read: super busy/expensive) travel days both before and after Thanksgiving, but the worst day is always the day before the holiday. If you can avoid that Wednesday, you’re already well on your way to enjoying your holiday more. But be sure to read the whole article to find out what other days to avoid when you’re booking your flights.

>> Read more about the best & worst days to travel for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Travel Airport Tips

Even if you’ve gotten a good deal on your Thanksgiving plane ticket and you’re traveling smart by not flying on any of the famously worst days to travel, you still might end up stuck at the airport for longer than you’d planned due to weather delays or some other unforseen problem. That’s where the tips in this article will come in handy.

Some of the tips included are designed to help you pass the time if you’re waiting for a flight, but others will help you speed past lines at check-in or baggage claim – and all of them will save you from some of that holiday travel stress.

>> Read more about Thanskgiving travel airport survival tips

Alternate Airports to Big US Hubs

This isn’t Thanksgiving-specific, but it could be helpful – especially when you’re hunting for travel deals. Many of the big US airports around the country aren’t the only airports in the area, and if you include other regional airports in your ticket search you can sometimes find better prices.

While ticket prices won’t always be lower at airports other than a city’s main hub, it never hurts to check – and since several of the country’s discount carriers (like Southwest and jetBlue) seem to prefer smaller airports, there could be some bargains to be found.

>> Read more about the alternative airports to major US hubs

Discount Airlines in the USA

This is another tip that’s not just handy to remember at Thanksgiving, but could save you money on air travel all year long. You might have heard of the budget airlines in Europe (like Ryanair or easyJet) – they seem to make the news for silly reasons, like wanting to charge people to use the lavatory during a flight. But did you know there are budget airlines right here in the USA? And they don’t plan to charge passengers to use the toilet?

No matter where you’re going, it’s a good idea to check any of the discount airlines that might serve that area – and you can’t just do that on the big booking websites, since some of them don’t feed their airfare results into those search results.

>> Read more about the budget airlines in the United States – or, if you’re headed north, then check out these discount airlines in Canada instead

top photo by xybermatthew; collage photos by NealeA, St0rmz, maltman23

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